Supporting parents, supporting public schools

School council/board training

WACSSO is growing increasingly concerned about the current disparity between the amount, quality and availability of support offered to school councils contrasted with that offered to school boards. This gap is contributing to the perceived ‘two-tiered’ system and threatening the equity of government education in Western Australia.

In 2009, WACSSO was at the forefront of promoting greater community involvement in government schooling through school councils. In 2010, WACSSO lost the $15,000 component of the Service Agreement to deliver school council training and resources and the Department of Education subsequently took on the responsibility. WACSSO was no longer funded to provide school council training to WA school communities, forcing us to end this much needed and supported service.

Forwarding to the present day, WACSSO continues to hear concerns from principals, community members, affiliates and P&C members sitting on school councils, around a lack of governance and training opportunities. Whereas, school boards are offered considerably more support. This disparity has only increased. The Department of Education has introduced the school board Development Program in Term 4, 2016. The State Government openly called for high-profile, influential West Australians to help steer the future of government education by joining Independent Public School boards with no mention of school councils.

WACSSO acknowledges that increased responsibilities for IPS boards requires that parent, carer and citizen representatives are skilled and supported to undertake their role on school boards, however councils provide the same function for non-IPS schools and are being neglected. Training for school council and board members, as with P&Cs, needs to be consistent and ongoing as members have a relatively high rotation rate and skills and knowledge are lost when members leave.

Position

WACSSO calls for the State Government to:

  • address the disparity between supports offered to IPS and non-IPS schools, including providing equitable training and resources for school boards and school councils; and to
  • mandate the requirement for consistent and ongoing comprehensive training and resource material to school councils and boards, alike. There must be equal opportunity provided to school council and board members to access comprehensive training and resource material in order to develop strong management teams across the government sector.

For referencing and the full report, click here.